Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The MorFish conference - not only about fish!

The MorFish conference - not all about fish - but rugby too!!
I attended the first day of the two day “MorFish conference” in Wareham, Dorset today (unfortunately I can’t make tomorrow). MorFish is a collaborative research project between the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomiquue – a French government funded research agency.

The project aims to better understand the reasons for the decline in numbers of Atlantic Salmon (A 70% decline in the last 30 years) returning to our rivers and to enable the better monitoring of their populations on the river Frome in Dorset and the Scorff and Oir in Brittany.

There was a lot of interesting information, but one or two things jumped out at me. For instance, it is estimated that there is an obstruction which can influence fish migration every 13km of river/stream in England and Wales. What are we thinking of? (Or just not thinking as the case might be).

There are between two and three thousand scales collected from individual fish each year and a total of around 50,000 are now held in laboratories. Many things can be deduced from studying these scales over time – such as the increasing amount of Nitrogen being held in these scales – which can slow the growth of fish – maybe a direct result of nitrates entering water courses from Agricultural land.

It was not all deep and meaningful research though - Dylan Roberts, head of GWCT fisheries research and as the name suggests, a very proud “Welshman”, got a big laugh as he took the opportunity to put up a slide of the Welsh rugby team celebrating a win over the French! This was however somewhat eclipsed when a couple of talks later, Dr Jean Marc Roussel finished his talk with a photo of the French celebrating a win over the Welsh!

 Wonderful to see that “Entente Cordiale” is alive and well – what a great project this is!

I have so obviously not managed to impart much of what went on today – but information from the conference will be put up on the MorFish website shortly. http://www.morfish.org.uk/


1 comment:

  1. Almost all salmon research over the past 35 years has been a waste of funds. As Owen Paterson former environment minister says part of the 'green blob' that rewards itself handsomely whilst doing real harm. The money should be spent as per on the Tyne an in accordance with the work by Peter Gray in restocking. Had that been done or if it was done then there would be no salmon crisis and some of these guys involved in "morsfish" may secure more eyeful employment.